AMBITIOUS plans to develop housing, specialist pre-school education and a women’s refuge on the site of Kelvin Grove in Carlow town are up for discussion in talks between council officials and the HSE.
Carlow County Council is scheduled to contact the HSE with a view to developing a “unified approach” on Kelvin Grove, a former psychiatric unit on the Athy Road.
The site has already been earmarked by the HSE as a long-anticipated new home for the Holy Angels Day Care Centre.
However, pressure is building locally to utilise other parts of the eight-acre site for social housing and a women’s refuge.
The meeting comes following a chance encounter at the recent opening of the palliative care unit at St Dympna’s Hospital between county councillor Fergal Browne and an official in the HSE’s estates section.
Cllr Browne said he queried the Kelvin Grove option and was told by the official that the council needed to adopt a “unified approach”.
“From what I can gather, the HSE are open for business,” said cllr Browne. “Kelvin Grove is an ideal site, it’s dreadful to see it locked and be a site of anti-social behaviour. It would be great to have it cleaned up and wouldn’t it be ideal to have Holy Angels, housing and a refuge there.”
The matter was raised at November’s meeting of the council and senior officials, including chief executive Kathleen Holohan, said they would follow up the opportunity with the HSE.
It’s also hoped that the HSE will have a report on Kelvin Grove to present to the regional health forum in early December.
Cllr Arthur McDonald, who sits on the forum, believes the report will reveal the HSE’s intentions for the site.
There are, however, complications to the proposal due to the poor condition of the 19th century property. It’s a listed building and would need substantial renovation.
It was previously put up for sale by the HSE in 2010, but failed to secure a buyer.
In a statement to The Nationalist, the HSE said: “There is a capital project awaiting funding for the development of a children’s disability services centre and a facility to accommodate a specialist pre-school service. The HSE/Southeast Community Healthcare is reviewing options as regards the remainder of its property at Kelvin Grove, Athy Road, Carlow.”